A brief guide to BMW i3 trim levels

The 2014 BMW i3 electric car will arrive in US dealers soon, bringing with it a radically-different approach to car design.

Yet once a buyer has made the decision to purchase this futuristic-looking city car (range extended version or not), there’s another important decision to make: how to equip it.

Like all cars, the i3 will be offered with several trim levels and packages, although even here BMW felt the need to be different. Instead of “trim levels,” buyers get to choose from three “worlds:” Mega, Giga, and Tera.

The car itself starts at $42,275 (including destination), before any incentives. An available gasoline range extender adds $3,850. Read on to see where you can go from there.

Mega World

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Despite its enthusiastic name, Mega World is the base i3 trim level. Each “world” comes with its own interior design, and the Mega’s features a combination of Mega Carum Spice Grey Sensatec and Carum Spice Grey Cloth materials.

Standard equipment is relatively basic for a BMW, but does include such niceties as HD radio, single-zone automatic climate control, and Dynamic Cruise Control. There are also six color options.

Giga World

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Upgrading to the mid-level Giga World trim costs $1,700 and nets an interior composed of Giga Classic Natural Leather and Carum Spice Grey Wool Cloth.

Other upgrades include satellite radio with a 1-year subscription, Comfort Access key, smoker’s package, and universal garage-door opener.

Buyers can also trade the stock 19-inch wheels for 20-inch dubs for an extra $1,300.

Tera World

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The top Tera World interior costs $2,700 and features Tera Dalbergia Brown Full Natural Leather. No cloth at this price.

Other equipment is the same as that found on the Giga, and buyers can still upgrade to 20-inch wheels for the same price.

Packages and options

In addition to the three “worlds,” there are several standalone options and packages. Should they be called moons?

For $2,500, the Technology + Driving Assistant Package adds navigation, real-time traffic information, ACC Stop and Go + Active Driving Assistant, and BMW Online, with its associated apps.

The $1,000 Parking Package adds a rearview camera, Park Distance Control, and Parking Assistant, which helps find suitable spaces with ultrasonic sensors.

Other options not bundled in packages include Harmon/Kardon audio ($800), heated front seats ($350), and “Sport” 20-inch wheels ($1,300).

Finally, there’s the DC fast-charging option ($700), which should allow the i3 to charge to 80 percent capacity in 20 minutes. However, the i3 uses the CCS standard – not the CHAdeMO standard used by the Nissan LEAF – and there aren’t many CCS-equipped stations currently in operation.

Which world do you live on? Check out the BMW i3 configurator to build your ideal electric city car.